How do you support pupils with additional support needs?
Edinburgh Steiner School aims to promote and safeguard the wellbeing of all pupils, within the framework of Scottish legislation for education and as an Independent School. The Pupil Support Department is central to this, working with the teachers, parents and professionals as well as the children and young people themselves.
Pupil Support embraces:
- Cognition and learning – including those who are gifted or talented, neurodiverse learning styles and hindrances to learning
- Communication and interaction – including EAL provision
- Social and emotional wellbeing and mental health
- Physical development and hindrances and sensory difficulties
The Department has three Coordinators, each of which has specialised knowledge and experience in a School area – Kindergarten, Lower School and Upper School – as well as specialists in Supportive Eurythmy, English as an Additional Language, experienced tutors in literacy and numeracy and other specialists whenever possible. We provide support either by advising teachers about appropriate approaches or by sessions with individual pupils or small groups.
For Upper School pupils with additional support needs who are taking exam subjects, the School will apply for appropriate ‘Assessment arrangements’ via the exam boards, including the provision of extra time, use of a laptop, a ‘reader’ or ‘scribe’, or separate spaces in which to sit an exam.
Edinburgh Steiner School is nevertheless a selective independent school with a distinctive Steiner Waldorf Curriculum; it is not a school which specialises in Special Educational Needs, although we strive to be inclusive as far as our limited resources allow.
Support for Learning is embedded in the Steiner Waldorf Curriculum, which is regarded by many as being supportive of the different learning styles of the majority of children and young people. Consequently, we have a small ASLD with a limited capacity for individual and classroom support. Although we aim to work within the aims of GIRFEC, as an independent school we are unable to access funding streams or services available through the Local Authority.
Balancing the needs of pupils within a Class or year group is essential to maintain a healthy and diverse learning community with those bound for university studying alongside those who may pursue different non exam based options.
In considering applicants, we aim to balance the interests and aptitude of the pupil with the context of the whole Class group, with the ethos of the Curriculum and School, and with the resources the School has available. If we have the capacity to accept a child or young person with Additional Support for Learning needs, then we will.